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How to write an attractive pitch for #PitMad – and other winning tips

PitMad is a regular twitter pitching event for unpublished manuscripts which attracts the attention of agents and publishers alike! But how do you make your pitch stand out from the hundreds of other pitches on twitter? I’ve pitched successfully at #PitMad and wanted to share my top tips for making sure your pitches shine.

What is #PitMad?

As I mentioned, PitMad is a twitter pitching event for finished manuscripts run by Pitch Wars, or finished proposals if you’re writing non-fiction. You pitch your book using the 280 character limit on Twitter. Now, if that sounds challenging, it certainly is. The word limit forces you to get the subject of your book down into a concise tweet. You can tweet up to three times during the submissions period.

If agents and editors want to see more of your work, they’ll like your post. But if you’re trying to support your friends doing PitMad, don’t heart the post, retweet it. Liking a post is reserved for agents and editors.

And as much as you might want to add a cheeky link to your tweets for agents to find out more, you’re not allowed to include links.

Top tips for pitching at #PitMad

Prepare your tweets in advance

It’s best to prepare for PitMad in the week before. You want to come up with three good tweets about your manuscript, but to get to those tweets, I suggest you write more. To prepare for PitMad, write five to 10 pitches in the two hundred and eighty character word limit. Test their length by opening up Twitter and copying in the text.

Add hashtags

Make sure you add the hashtags that apply to your genre, and of course, the hashtag #PitMad. There’s a full list of these genre hashtags on the PitMad website.

Make your tweets engaging

You don’t have to tell the entire story in one tweet, but you want to grab an agent’s attention. And for that there needs to be conflict, interesting characters and the promise of an intriguing story. Here are examples of the tweets that I wrote for PitMad when I was going to pitch my novel. All of these got responses from agents and editors.

#PitMad #A #HF #M London 1856: When a beautiful woman begs a tabloid editor to investigate a murder, how can he say no? In an uneasy alliance with a river cop, they uncover a secret that threatens to burn the city. Victorianoir was longlisted for CWA Debut Dagger 2017.

London 1856: Tabloid editor Garrett loves women and needs cash. When a beautiful broad begs him to investigate a murder, how can he say no? But there’s only one man who can help: a cop relegated to the Thames River Police by Garrett’s own scandal journalism. #PitMad #A #HF #M

London 1856: A seedy tabloid editor and jaded river cop investigate a murder which reaches to the darkest corners of the Thames. Can they find the killer before an innocent hangs? Holmes x Hammett in this historical mystery longlisted for CWA Debut Dagger 2017  #PitMad #A #M #HF

Look at novel blurbs for inspiration

I like to think of writing these tweets very similar to writing the first paragraph of the marketing copy on the back of a novel. If you’re looking for inspiration, look at the first paragraph on the back of a novel in your genre. What does it say? What does it sell to the reader?

Test your pitches

Try out your pitches on family and friends. Ask them which ones they responded to. Which ones got an emotional reaction? Chances are, if they feel strongly about particular tweets, other people will too.

Schedule your tweets

You don’t need to stay up all night to pitch your novel! You can schedule your tweets through the day in the best time period for the agents and editors you’re trying to attract. So if that’s the UK, use UK time zones. If that’s the US, make sure the US time zones. You can schedule your tweets through Twitter itself, using the small clock icon on the tweet interface. If you need a hand, watch the video to see how I do it.

Follow up promptly

If editors and agents like your tweets, check their profiles to see if they’ve posted guidelines for how they would like their submissions. If they don’t have any guidelines, go to their websites and check the generic submission guidelines. Pitch them according to these rules. You want to make sure that you present the work in how the agent would like to receive it.

You don’t need to accept all offers

If there’s an agent or editor you don’t want to work with, or you don’t think is a suitable match, you don’t need to send them your work. Simple as that.

No love? No worries.

Don’t worry if you don’t get any love on the day. It’s a really tough thing to put your work out there. But there are always other opportunities and other ways to get noticed by an agent or an editor. #PitMad is run throughout the year—take the time between pitches to hone your craft, polish your pitch, and get back out there.

Got a tip for pitching at #PitMad? Or have a success story? Share your thoughts in the comments below.